Rafaela Oplopoiou

Image: YUSU

Image: YUSU

Third Year
Politics with International Relations

What made you decide to run for Student Activities Officer?
As a Politics student, I am really interested in the way that small and big institutions are run. It would be an honour to be part of the Students’ Union that has helped and guided me throughout my own student life. I want to help all students get as much as they can from university and make it an experience they will never forget. The Student Activities Officer position will allow me to apply my passion and knowledge for coordinating societies, RAG and volunteering.

Sum up your main policies.
– Represent all students on both parts of the campus and create an integration support system
– Assist and promote RAG and volunteering and give them proper funding for events
– Improve the funding processes and training
– Make students confident towards YUSU

Describe yourself in three words.
Inspiring, approachable, effervescent.

What makes you different to the other candidates?
I believe as both an experienced individual and an international student, I can bring a whole new perspective into the role of Student Activities Officer. I am aware of the difficulties societies and RAG face and would like to assist them in all aspects. I would like YUSU to be more welcoming towards people thinking about participating in YUSU activities.

What experience do you have that will be good for the role?
I have been involved with every aspect of what the role of Activities Officer entails. I have been involved with many societies by being part of their committees, from being an Ordinary Member to President. Currently, I am the President of the Hellenic Society and the representative of all international, cultural and faith societies as part of YUSU’s Societies Committee. Moreover, I am the current PR and Marketing Officer of RAG, where I have assisted in raising awareness and have helped raise thousands of pounds during RAG Week. Also, I was the Project Coordinator of Viva Voce, an online audio magazine for people who are blind, for which we received a generous grant to continue doing a great job. College-wise, I was a STYC this year, helping many first-year students settle into this brand new environment.

What will you do differently to Chris Wall, the current Student Activities Officer?
I believe there is huge room for improvement in the way the position is run. First of all, holding comprehensive training more often with professionals from different fields that all the societies, RAG and volunteering have to attend. Furthermore, it is essential for students to get a glimpse of what a society does before they join it. This can be achieved by holding taster sessions for each and every one society as well as RAG and volunteering projects. Also, I would like to see better representation in Heslington East by holding more events there and getting students from both parts of the campus to join. These are just some of my ideas and I would love to make them happen.

Tell us an interesting fact about yourself.
An interesting fact is that my surname means ‘gunmaker’ in Greek. In Greece, we get our names from the professions that some of our ancestors used to do. Therefore, my great-great-granddad was a gunmaker.

What do you think of the other candidates?
I think everyone is a really strong and competent candidate, and they have good ideas. I am glad I have respectable competition because I always seek a good challenge.

What do you think the biggest challenge you’ll face during elections will be?
The biggest challenge would be lack of sleep. In order to achieve everything I want during campaigning, I will have to be up all day and all night. But I am sure it will be a unique experience and I cannot wait for it.

What’s your campaign strategy?
My campaign strategy will include talking to people around campus, getting to know what everyone wants from their Students’ Union and their societies, and delivering it.

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